Drivers could have licenses on smartphones by 2018

Motorists could be allowed to have their driving licence on smartphones by 2018, according to the government agency developing the plans.

The DVLA said it will develop a quick, easy and secure smartphone service between April and March 2018. Picture: John Devlin

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) said it will develop a “quick, easy and secure” service between April and March 2018, with a test system in place by September this year.

It wants the digital service to allow people to share and validate information with “trusted” third parties, although stressed it will not replace plastic licences.

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DVLA chief executive Oliver Morley revealed on Twitter in May 2016 that a prototype for a digital licence was in development.

He tweeted a photo showing an iPhone screen displaying the image of a licence in the Apple Pay app, which enables people to use their phone to make payments and store boarding passes and other relevant documents.

Further details on the timetable for such a service have been included in the DVLA’s business plan for the next 12 months.

It states: “During 2017/18 we will be developing a quick, easy and secure service to allow customers to view a representation of their driving licence on their smartphone.

“The driver will be in control of their data and this can be used to share and validate driver information with trusted third parties through a secure website.

“This service will not replace the full driving licence.

“The digital licence service will only be available to driving licence holders who have authenticated themselves on through the existing driving licence service.

“This service will be available 24/7, wherever the driver has a web connection.

“We will develop a private beta service by September 2017.”

DVLA said work is in the early stages, with further details on what the service will look like to be released in future.